Tag Archives: space

How Women hold Space for one another : Acknowledgment as an act of the Sacred

by Hollie B.

lunation.com.au

I give thanks to my dear Sister who agreed to my sharing of this story. I have chosen not to use her name. Because that’s not what’s important in this Story. So for now, she is called ‘this Woman’.

This is a Story about why I believe all Women benefit from sharing Story in a Red Tent. I don’t so much believe that every Woman needs to speak to share their Story in the Red Tent. But each Woman may find healing through Being present with shared Stories.

IMG_6719

I know this Woman who is employed in a place where She sees the absolute worst in human behaviour. Anything awful You can imagine, this Woman has probably seen it, heard of it, or been exposed to a story of it in some way. I’m not exaggerating, and I’m not trying to bring You into a yuk Space, I just want to paint a very clear picture of how different this Woman’s everyday life is compared to many of us.

She has an awesome partner. In this case, her partner is a man, but it is not his gender that is important. What I take from this story is that her husband is there for her in the sense that anything awful that she needs to download from work, she can share with him and she knows he can take it. He works there too.

Home life is good for this Woman. Her children have grown and they are doing their own thing. She celebrates their maturity, knowing that their Journey is their own. Anything that causes stress from work, gets talked about before coming home, and left on the road. In other words, she doesn’t bring it home with her. She has a relationship with her husband, that although has had pain and grief in the past, is healed and in an Awesome Space now. She’s done Circles for healing her menarche and healing her mother-issues and letting go of the past and… In other words, right now, even though there are things that bother her in her worklife, and she knows there will still be Life Work to do, yet she feels fairly sorted.

Is that to suggest that this Woman doesn’t need an Experience such as a Red Tent? Like, she’s fairly sorted so she doesn’t need to sit around with other Women to talk about ‘issues’. She’s got her husband afterall. If he’s so Awesome, why would she need to go along to a Red Tent? She’s already got understanding and a soundboard for whenever she does have an issue. She feels supported at home…

Well, recent experiences have taught me that actually yes, she does still need the Red Tent Experience. This is not something I’ve come to on my own by the way. This isn’t something I’m coming at from my place of advice and an ‘I know what You need attitude’. Actually, it comes straight from this Woman’s mouth.

But the reason might not be what you’re thinking.

This Woman, wants to Be witness to other Women’s stories. She understands that everyone needs a place to share – to vent – to speak – to let go – and everyone needs to feel heard in that.

This Woman does not believe that She has ‘no issues’. But she does feel that the ‘everyday’ things she is haunted with are not for the ears of anyone outside of her industry. It’s not about being selfish. It’s not about coming and hearing everyone else’s ‘stuff’ and not adding anything to the energy. Actually, it’s about finding the Right place (for her) to share her stories, and entering the Sacred Space so that it is held Sacred. For this Woman, she feels depth in being the Witness. She isn’t there to give advice, or story-compete (Oh Yes I’ve seen lots of that), nor is she in the Red Tent to suppress some sort of need to feel special by being different.

Put simply, this Woman finds depth in the Work of witnessing other Women’s stories. In the act of acknowledgement – as witness to other Women and where they are in the moment – she becomes a Sacred Keeper of Tradition and Compassion. When she has something to say, she does. But for the most part, She helps hold the Space. She sits listening, without judgement – accepting of the Story as it is. She nurtures Women who do need to share. And She is content to Be.

Recently a number of events played out in front of me that really anchored this understanding for me. I saw many aspects of this Story. I heard the words ‘I’m fine’ while watching the body language that said ‘don’t fucken push me cos I will break – and I don’t want to break right now!’ I felt the acceptance of this Space while watching other Women go on the finger pointing mission of trying to ‘help’ and offer advice. I saw the break down of safe and Sacred energy with that pushing. I felt the pain of this Woman in not feeling accepted for where she needed to Be with other Women. I felt the distrust from Women who held expectations about sharing. The next day I felt Truth and Realness pour from the heart of this Woman as we shared together how that happened and where she would have liked it to Be. And it was in that conversation that I got clear around one very important aspect of the Red Tent.

I understood already that Women need to speak. I understood already that for a long time Women have not been heard. I have also noticed often that there are times when Women just talk for the sake of it. I have noticed that even when You suggest as a facilitator that everyone can keep their opinions and advice to themselves, and just let a Woman Be in her Space, they just can’t help themselves giving advice and opinions and cutting People off. I have noticed that some Women have a need to agree and say ‘You’ll be right’ and ‘You’re strong’ and ‘You can do it’ in response to another Woman’s Story. And I’ve noticed that this is not only un-helpful, it’s fucking disrespectful.

Red Tent

My Red Tent and Women’s Spaces aren’t for feel good pep-talks. I facilitate Spaces for Women to Be. And to feel supported in that Being. In these Spaces it doesn’t matter who we are at home. What we do at work. What we have to do tomorrow. We just get to Be exactly as we are – in whatever Space – in that moment – without apologies. And we get to do it in a supported Space.

And what I became clear around, thanks to this Woman, is that I really want for the Red Tent Experiences that I facilitate for Women to feel the Power of sharing Stories, simply through Being Witness.

And then that got me thinking (it’s fairly on-the-go in my mind – when thinking is on, it’s really on until clarity is found). Although the Red Tent Experience happens in its own way, and Women share whatever they need in relation to that day, that moment; there’s still some things that some of us need to heal – and we don’t necessarily have a safe Space to do this in. Some of those ‘issues’ are older than ‘this moment and this day’, and we’re not necessarily sure how to bring them up. A ‘general’ Red Tent for sharing, although beauty-full and healing, may not always get to the deepest seat of what we need to heal.

It’s a bit daunting to bring up our miscarriages and our terminations and our divorce and how to raise our sons and daughters and our mental illness and our mother issues and our body image perceptions and… in a space full of Women who we have never met, or whom we only see every now and then. It’s particularly daunting to suddenly bring out the deep Stories of grief and loss that have been pushed down for a long time, or never given a Space. For example, it’s not easy to start talking about the abortion You never dealt with emotionally ten years ago, when the Woman next to You is talking about how she loves being a parent.

I always find it so deeply moving to hear stories from Women about things I’ve never experienced. Whether the Story is about joy or loss, it is the difference that I find mySelf inspired by. I feel honoured when a Woman shares something new to me. That is the journey of the Witness. It is quite beauty-full.

The essence of the Red Tent is the commonality of Being Woman. Always in the Story, even when we have not had the same experiences, it is the sharing that moves us. In one Woman’s Story of pain or hope or joy or loss, we find something of ourSelf. And we grow. That is True healing. That is how we fill our cup. Whether You are the Story-teller or the Witness. There is something for every Woman in the Red Tent.

And so, this leads us to the renewed, improved and fully awesome Red Tent Experience of 2013. We are diving deep. We are creating Space for Stories with intention. We are allowing room for Women to share and to respond authentically. We are opening a doorway for Women to Witness and find Truth around the Way we speak and respond. And we are Working with the Red Tent, to simply Be.

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Filed under coming of age, friendship, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, Hollie B., how to create a Red Tent, red tent, sacred space, women's stories

This fabric has a story to tell…

“We can feel the stories of the women in the fabric.” Much more than decoration, the fabric of our Red Tents bears witness to all that happens within our communities. Year after year, it helps us to remember…

Join us in the virtual “Red Tent” for today’s episode of Red Tent TV.

After you’ve watched the episode, I’d love to know…

What does your Red Tent look like? Can you describe it and the way it makes you feel?

I look forward to reading your comments below.

If you liked this video, subscribe to our channel & sign up for our free weekly episodes of Red Tent TV at http://www.redtent.tv/

Missed my most recent episodes? Watch them here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw

Enjoy the video and have a fantastic day! Thanks for watching!

My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmZGBmANkmSBD1337JiQWbw
Website: http://www.redtent.tv
Friendship on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/redtentfilm

Opening song “Red Tent Temple” by Mother Turtle. http://www.motherturtle.com/

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", From the filmmaker, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, red tent, red tent film, red tent movie, Red Tent TV

How I made my Red Tent

by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD

In March 2012, I had a dream that I wanted every screening of “Things We Don’t Talk About” to be in a giant Red Tent that would travel around with me in a 2 suitcases and be big enough for up to 300 people. But how was this going to work logistically?

Red Tent at a screening

The filmmaker’s Red Tent at a screening of “Things We Don’t Talk About”

I have been a participant in the Red Tent movement since it began and I have helped set up many Red Tents and Red Tent Temples. But the set up always took a LONG time, with hours and hours of labor by numerous women. So how was I going to make it easy to create a huge Red Tent for a screening if it took so much time to create a small one for only 20 women? As I thought about it, one problem that always came up with building the Red Tent was the different size fabrics. The fabrics were often donated curtains, sheets, or yardage. Most yardage is 44 inches or 56 inches wide. While some of the pieces were very long, they were also very narrow and could not cover an entire wall.

How to create it?

I created large panels of fabric that were all the same size and could cover a wall very quickly and without much thought to the design (when it was being hung). So from March 2012 to May 2012, I had an opportunity to have a studio space at the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, a fabric museum, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison while I was finishing my PhD and the film. It wasn’t really a studio space, it was more of an empty room with a large bulletin board so I could pin up the different fabrics and create the design for the panels. Almost all of the fabric that I used to create my panels where donated, found at the thrift store, or purchased cheaply on Ebay. The decorative materials that I purchased on Ebay were Indian Sari and Uzbek Suzani. Which were both large and inexpensive ways of adding beautiful fabrics to the plain yardage.

Having spent many summers with my grandmother, who was a talented quilter, I have some sewing and design skills. If this is not a talent you have, my suggestion is to reach out to your friends and family members. There must be someone in your community that can sew and that could help you. Basically the gist of it is to take all of the small pieces of fabric and sew them together in a pattern that you like so that it saves time when you put up your Red Tent. I have found that it takes about 5 minutes to put up one of my panels. For your space, wouldn’t it be nice if you had a beautiful Red Tent that could go up in about 20 minutes or less?

My panels are 15 feet wide by 13 feet tall. I chose 13 feet tall for myself because most ceilings at either 8 feet or 12 feet and I wanted to make sure that my panels would drape on the floor a little bit if I was in a 12 foot space. As for why I created my panels 15 feet wide, that was the size of my bulletin board, but you can chose any width. I would suggest maybe at least 10 feet wide.

Here are examples of some of my Red Tent panels.

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To see more example of what the panels look like in different screening venues click here.

How to Hang it?

The second problem that I found with setting up numerous Red Tents was how to hang the fabric. Most groups use thumbtacks or staples to hang the fabric on the wall. But this was a not a good solution for me because I want to do 400 screenings of “Things We Don’t Talk About.” If I put a thumbtack into my fabric that many times it would shred the fabric after just a few events. I also wanted to be gentle on the space and not put a million holes in the wall. So I put grommets along the top edge of all of my panels at intervals of 1 foot. So there are 15 grommets in each panel.

Grommets

Grommets

I hang my Red Tent using 1 of 2 methods:

  • My favorite is using a 3” binder ring, which I purchased from Office Depot. I put the binder ring through the grommet and then I clip or hang the ring onto things in the space like the grid for a drop ceiling, poles, wall sconces, crown molding, nails already in the space, window frames, etc.
  • My other solution is to put a thumbtack into the wall and then hang the grommet on the thumbtack. I don’t often use this method because I don’t like to leave holes in the wall, but when this is my only option I have found that a thumbtack every 3 feet is sufficient.

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", From the filmmaker, grandmother, how to create a Red Tent, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, place, red tent film, red tent movie, red tent temple, sacred space, space

How Women hold Space for one another : Acknowledgment as an act of the Sacred

by Hollie B.

lunation.com.au

I give thanks to my dear Sister who agreed to my sharing of this story. I have chosen not to use her name. Because that’s not what’s important in this Story. So for now, she is called ‘this Woman’.

This is a Story about why I believe all Women benefit from sharing Story in a Red Tent. I don’t so much believe that every Woman needs to speak to share their Story in the Red Tent. But each Woman may find healing through Being present with shared Stories.

IMG_6719

I know this Woman who is employed in a place where She sees the absolute worst in human behaviour. Anything awful You can imagine, this Woman has probably seen it, heard of it, or been exposed to a story of it in some way. I’m not exaggerating, and I’m not trying to bring You into a yuk Space, I just want to paint a very clear picture of how different this Woman’s everyday life is compared to many of us.

She has an awesome partner. In this case, her partner is a man, but it is not his gender that is important. What I take from this story is that her husband is there for her in the sense that anything awful that she needs to download from work, she can share with him and she knows he can take it. He works there too.

Home life is good for this Woman. Her children have grown and they are doing their own thing. She celebrates their maturity, knowing that their Journey is their own. Anything that causes stress from work, gets talked about before coming home, and left on the road. In other words, she doesn’t bring it home with her. She has a relationship with her husband, that although has had pain and grief in the past, is healed and in an Awesome Space now. She’s done Circles for healing her menarche and healing her mother-issues and letting go of the past and… In other words, right now, even though there are things that bother her in her worklife, and she knows there will still be Life Work to do, yet she feels fairly sorted.

Is that to suggest that this Woman doesn’t need an Experience such as a Red Tent? Like, she’s fairly sorted so she doesn’t need to sit around with other Women to talk about ‘issues’. She’s got her husband afterall. If he’s so Awesome, why would she need to go along to a Red Tent? She’s already got understanding and a soundboard for whenever she does have an issue. She feels supported at home…

Well, recent experiences have taught me that actually yes, she does still need the Red Tent Experience. This is not something I’ve come to on my own by the way. This isn’t something I’m coming at from my place of advice and an ‘I know what You need attitude’. Actually, it comes straight from this Woman’s mouth.

But the reason might not be what you’re thinking.

This Woman, wants to Be witness to other Women’s stories. She understands that everyone needs a place to share – to vent – to speak – to let go – and everyone needs to feel heard in that.

This Woman does not believe that She has ‘no issues’. But she does feel that the ‘everyday’ things she is haunted with are not for the ears of anyone outside of her industry. It’s not about being selfish. It’s not about coming and hearing everyone else’s ‘stuff’ and not adding anything to the energy. Actually, it’s about finding the Right place (for her) to share her stories, and entering the Sacred Space so that it is held Sacred. For this Woman, she feels depth in being the Witness. She isn’t there to give advice, or story-compete (Oh Yes I’ve seen lots of that), nor is she in the Red Tent to suppress some sort of need to feel special by being different.

Put simply, this Woman finds depth in the Work of witnessing other Women’s stories. In the act of acknowledgement – as witness to other Women and where they are in the moment – she becomes a Sacred Keeper of Tradition and Compassion. When she has something to say, she does. But for the most part, She helps hold the Space. She sits listening, without judgement – accepting of the Story as it is. She nurtures Women who do need to share. And She is content to Be.

Recently a number of events played out in front of me that really anchored this understanding for me. I saw many aspects of this Story. I heard the words ‘I’m fine’ while watching the body language that said ‘don’t fucken push me cos I will break – and I don’t want to break right now!’ I felt the acceptance of this Space while watching other Women go on the finger pointing mission of trying to ‘help’ and offer advice. I saw the break down of safe and Sacred energy with that pushing. I felt the pain of this Woman in not feeling accepted for where she needed to Be with other Women. I felt the distrust from Women who held expectations about sharing. The next day I felt Truth and Realness pour from the heart of this Woman as we shared together how that happened and where she would have liked it to Be. And it was in that conversation that I got clear around one very important aspect of the Red Tent.

I understood already that Women need to speak. I understood already that for a long time Women have not been heard. I have also noticed often that there are times when Women just talk for the sake of it. I have noticed that even when You suggest as a facilitator that everyone can keep their opinions and advice to themselves, and just let a Woman Be in her Space, they just can’t help themselves giving advice and opinions and cutting People off. I have noticed that some Women have a need to agree and say ‘You’ll be right’ and ‘You’re strong’ and ‘You can do it’ in response to another Woman’s Story. And I’ve noticed that this is not only un-helpful, it’s fucking disrespectful.

Red Tent

My Red Tent and Women’s Spaces aren’t for feel good pep-talks. I facilitate Spaces for Women to Be. And to feel supported in that Being. In these Spaces it doesn’t matter who we are at home. What we do at work. What we have to do tomorrow. We just get to Be exactly as we are – in whatever Space – in that moment – without apologies. And we get to do it in a supported Space.

And what I became clear around, thanks to this Woman, is that I really want for the Red Tent Experiences that I facilitate for Women to feel the Power of sharing Stories, simply through Being Witness.

And then that got me thinking (it’s fairly on-the-go in my mind – when thinking is on, it’s really on until clarity is found). Although the Red Tent Experience happens in its own way, and Women share whatever they need in relation to that day, that moment; there’s still some things that some of us need to heal – and we don’t necessarily have a safe Space to do this in. Some of those ‘issues’ are older than ‘this moment and this day’, and we’re not necessarily sure how to bring them up. A ‘general’ Red Tent for sharing, although beauty-full and healing, may not always get to the deepest seat of what we need to heal.

It’s a bit daunting to bring up our miscarriages and our terminations and our divorce and how to raise our sons and daughters and our mental illness and our mother issues and our body image perceptions and… in a space full of Women who we have never met, or whom we only see every now and then. It’s particularly daunting to suddenly bring out the deep Stories of grief and loss that have been pushed down for a long time, or never given a Space. For example, it’s not easy to start talking about the abortion You never dealt with emotionally ten years ago, when the Woman next to You is talking about how she loves being a parent.

I always find it so deeply moving to hear stories from Women about things I’ve never experienced. Whether the Story is about joy or loss, it is the difference that I find mySelf inspired by. I feel honoured when a Woman shares something new to me. That is the journey of the Witness. It is quite beauty-full.

The essence of the Red Tent is the commonality of Being Woman. Always in the Story, even when we have not had the same experiences, it is the sharing that moves us. In one Woman’s Story of pain or hope or joy or loss, we find something of ourSelf. And we grow. That is True healing. That is how we fill our cup. Whether You are the Story-teller or the Witness. There is something for every Woman in the Red Tent.

And so, this leads us to the renewed, improved and fully awesome Red Tent Experience of 2013. We are diving deep. We are creating Space for Stories with intention. We are allowing room for Women to share and to respond authentically. We are opening a doorway for Women to Witness and find Truth around the Way we speak and respond. And we are Working with the Red Tent, to simply Be.

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", friendship, growing up, healing, Hollie B., international, memory, mother, place, red tent, red tent experience, ritual, sacred space, space, story

Sous la Tente Rouge

par Jacqueline Riquez

(We will feature the English translation of this story in the next post in 2 weeks).

La première fois que je me suis retrouvée dans une Tente Rouge, c’était comme recevoir une décharge électrique : très puissant et difficile à ignorer! Et en même temps il y avait quelque chose de si évident, si frappant, dans cette expérience, que j’avais la conviction intime d’avoir contacté quelque chose qui remontait à l’Origine, bien avant la connaissance. J’avais déjà eu ce sentiment-là, en portant de l’eau d’un puits avec une autre femme, un flash intense de mémoire atavique, le plus profond sentiment de déjà-vu imaginable. Ce soir-là, sous la lumière tamisée de la Tente Rouge, j’ai entendu des femmes livrant les vérités les plus puissantes, qui résonnaient au plus profond de mon âme.  Elles évoquaient le sang des lunes et les mots semblaient ouvrir un barrage en moi… Je suis partie cette nuit-là  l’esprit dynamisé et bien que je sois rentrée à minuit passé, il se passades heures avant que le sommeil ne m’emporte. ‘Je dois fabriquer ma propre Tente Rouge, c’est ce que je dois faire.’ C’était comme un appel au clairon : très puissant et difficile à ignorer!

Je devrais expliquer que la Tente Rouge à laquelle j’ai assisté ici en France se passait littéralement dans une tente, même si celle-là était plutôt basique. Pour ma propre tente, j’ai emprunté la même conception et puis je me suis laissée aller dans la fantaisie : n’imaginez pas une tente pour le camping, mais plutôt une tente somptueuse de nomades, remplie de coussins, de couvertures, de bougies, de soies drapées et un air de décadence, comme si un sérail de femmes magnifiques allaient débarquer – et c’est le cas! Elle fait 3 mètres sur 3, un mètre de haut sur les côtés et 1,40m au centre et même si c’est une tente, elle reste à l’intérieur. On tient à 11 personnes dedans pour rester confortable. J’ai commencé à la fabriquer dans les jours qui suivirent cette toute première Tente Rouge. J’ai cousu et j’ai cousu encore, presque un kilomètre de fil rouge. Ma petite apprenait tout juste à rouler sur le côté et je la posais par terre à un bout de la pièce, puis je courais à ma machine à l’autre bout et là, je cousais comme une Furie, en regardant par-dessus mon épaule tandis qu’elle roulait en rigolant vers moi. Dés qu’elle arrivait, je la ramenais à l’autre bout du salon et on recommençait. Ma première tente s’est cousue pendant que ma fille était à mes trousses. Ma deuxième Tente, encore plus belle, a eu son inauguration il y a une semaine. Je suis tombée amoureuse d’un tissu trouvé à Notre Dame des Sans-Abri et je savais qu’il était destiné à ma Tente Rouge. Chaque tissu était chiné dans des vide-greniers, à Notre-Dame ou à Emmaüs et je me réjouis de savoir que toutes ces étoffes ont déjà voyagé et  vécu d’autres vies.

Il y a quelque chose dans cet espace chaleureux et sacré qui invite l’intimité. Les femmes disent souvent, avec la conviction d’initiées, que c’est comme si elles se retrouvaient dans un utérus. Les langues se délient, les défenses se  relâchent et nous pouvons toutes déposer nos fardeaux. En général, je n’aime pas être dans des espaces confinés et  d’autres femmes qui sont venues sous la Tente avaient la même difficulté. Or il y a quelque chose dans cet espace matriciel d’un rouge profond qui refuse toute comparaison claustrophobe :  on se sent contenu mais pas confiné, sécurisé mais pas suffoqué.  Je commence en rappelant à toutes que ce qui se dit sous la Tente, reste sous la Tente. Je les invite à partager brièvement ce avec quoi elles viennent : personne n’est obligé de parler mais par respect pour l’énergie du groupe chacune est invitée à dire où elle en est – ‘ça ne va pas très fort pour moi aujourd’hui et je ne sais pas si je vais parler beaucoup’ – cela peut s’entendre. On convient d’une heure de fin ensemble et puis c’est parti : c’est rare que je doive lancer la discussion ou empêcher quelqu’un de trop parler. Il n’y a pas besoin de bâton de parole. Je facilite si besoin mais je ne dirige pas, bien que je serve du thé, des gâteaux faits-maison et un stock essentiel de chocolat. La parole coule : des fois nous parlons de nos lunes, de l’accouchement, de sexe : ce qui vient est juste. A la fin, nous faisons passer un ruban rouge autour de nos poignets pour nous rappeler notre lien sacré. Alors que je tape ce texte, il reste encore à mon poignet des rubans des Tentes de ces derniers mois : je suis encore reliée aux 20 autres femmes par ce satin rouge.

Je propose des Tentes Rouges toutes les trois semaines, afin de visiter toutes les phases de la Lune au bout de quatre séances. Cela me paraît plus ‘démocratique’ vu que nous n’avons plus nos Lunes toutes ensemble. L’énergie qui découle de ces différentes phases est parfois tangible : à la Pleine Lune, nous sommes souvent assez fébriles, excitées, canalisant des énergies assez sexuelles, nous rions jusqu’aux larmes ; à la Nouvelle Lune nous sommes plus calmes, plus pensives, la face cachée de nos propres natures émerge. Si je contribue à quelque chose, c’est d’encourager les femmes à prendre conscience de leurs propres « saisons » et de les relier à celles de la Lune, mais aussi aux saisons de l’année solaire ainsi que celles de leurs vies de femme. J’ai pu ressentir cette incroyable connexion avec les cycles de la vie très récemment : j’étais dans l’automne de mon cycle (pré-menstruelle), la Lune était décroissante et à la fin de son cycle, les feuilles flamboyaient aux arbres environnants, et à 42 ans, je me sens à l’automne de ma vie de femme – j’ai fini de faire des bébés mais je vis toute la plénitude de cette période. Voici ce que je ressens si fortement dans ma vie quand ces quatre éléments sont alignés ainsi : le sentiment profond d’être où je dois être.

Je remplis les thermos d’eau chaude pour les innombrables tasses de thé et de tisane que nous boirons ensemble, je brûle de la sauge et du Palo Santo, je prépare les bougies, je redonne leur forme aux coussins une dernière fois… Je respire profondément et je murmure ma prière : « Au feu par-dessus et à la terre par-dessous, à l’air qui nous entoure et la rivière qui coule en nous, à notre Père le Ciel et notre Mère la Terre, à la lumière fraîche de Notre-Dame la Lune et la caresse chaude du soleil, aux liens affectifs qui me contiennent, à tout ce dont je fais partie et à tout ce qui fait partie de moi : je me présente à vous et vous invoque. Nous sommes tous un seul être. » Maintenant je suis prête. Je me lève et j’invite les femmes qui attendent dans l’autre pièce à me rejoindre sous les jupes soyeuses de la Tente Rouge. Nous sommes où nous devons être.

www.entente-feminine.com
http://ententefeminine.wordpress.com

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Filed under Jacqueline Riquez, memory, place, red tent, red tent experience, ritual, space, story, The Red Tent, Uncategorized

An Unconventional Red Tent

By Jayleigh

On a warm weekend in July, a Red Tent was raised at the Culture Fest in Salem, MA. I attended for a few hours in support of my friend, Natalie Johnsen (featured in the Red Tent Movie), who played hostess for the Red Tent throughout the two days it was up.

Red Tent Temple, Salem, MA

Red Tent Temple, Salem, MA

The tent itself stood out from the others: red amidst the white. The entire inside seemed to glow red from the reflection of so many pieces of red fabric which had been draped over three of the tent’s sides. There were red-draped chairs, red-covered tables, red pillows and rolled-up blankets on the ground.

This Red Tent had multiple purposes. One was to provide for those who wished a space for respite, shade, and refreshment (ice cubes, iced tea, and cold gazpacho were available). Anyone could enter and sit for as long as he or she liked. Another purpose was to educate and increase visibility for the Red Tent. Men were welcome to come and learn. Another purpose was to create soulful space where lively conversation might happen.

I entered the Red Tent after it had already been up for several hours that Saturday. I sat, watched, and listened.

The space was witness to conversations ranging from intimate asking for support to a group discussion of hair and what the connection might be between cutting off one’s hair and releasing the hold of old memories. A few men stopped by. Women came and seemed delighted that such a space was there.

Red Tent Temple, Salem, MA

Red Tent Temple, Salem, MA

At one point I found myself writing in a book in which women at various times had recorded their lineage through the women in their family. I paged through and read names, read women’s writing about why they had come to the Red Tent. It was a profound thing to write my name, and then my mother’s, and then my grandmother’s, and then (after a long pause in which I struggled to remember it) my great-grandmother’s. No matter who these women were, no matter what they had or hadn’t done, their lives allowed mine to be. I wrote my own dedication: I knew in that moment that I had come to the Red Tent to affirm my life.

Eventually, that day, I left, appreciative of what had been. What a radical thing it is to simply offer space where one may be nourished without needing to be any particular way. Natalie, with her open eyes and open arms, held this space beautifully for all who came, whether they had ever heard of the Red Tent before or not. Although it was an unconventional Red Tent, it was the Red Tent at its best.

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Filed under "things we don't talk about", memory, place, red tent, red tent experience, red tent temple, Red Tent Temple Movment, space, story

Is it a Place or a Space?

by Susan Eaton Mendenhall

Where is ‘place’ within the spaces we live and see?  Walls, streets, buildings give us place.  Sky, fields, and open water offer vastness of space.  Are ‘space’ and ‘place’ the same? I think not.   Space is vague, inclusive, and universal.  Place is named, determined, recognized.  Space holds dreams.  Place holds memories.

Space allows breath and breathing.  It awakens the imagination and creativity.  It invites the deepest part of us to trust and explore.  It begs for nothing.  It is the absence of ‘what might be’ that gives it freedom.  It has no demands.  Space is uncommitted, unnamed, without story and specific memory.

ABC Carpet & Home Store Red Tent

Red Tent at the ABC Carpet & Home Store

Place is very different.  Place offers suggestions by its very nature.  Place defines as it becomes a sounding board for the many memories it may invoke.  Places hold and invite stories.  While a place may be silent, the story that is recalled will be full of sound and movement, color and dynamic. Places remember a relationship, moods and feelings.

Both a space and a place that is growing within women’s circles is called the RED TENT. Draped in shades of red fabric, this is a created space to hold whatever stories, dreams, imagination, art,  and self-care the women wish to bring.  It invites all that a woman has experienced in her body – in her lifetime – to be celebrated, shared, released, and healed with the other women who also gather in this space.   Once the stories unfold, the activity begins, the rituals performed – the sacred space that has been prepared to invite the whole of womanhood becomes a place full of new stories, new friendships, memories, and renewal of life itself.

The Red Tent is a place where a woman is able to ask herself “How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you?  A place where other women, perhaps somewhat older, had been affirmed before you, each in her time as she struggled to become more truly herself.  And if the other women had helped you to trust your own becoming and quietly and prayerfully nurture it.  How might your life be different?”  (Judith Duerk)  It is this kind of question that makes a place important.  A place helps us ask life questions, look at them from all sides, and trust that an answer will arrive in its own time.  The Red Tent is a sacred space prepared for women to place their stories, lives, and questions.  “How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you?

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Filed under memory, place, red tent, red tent experience, space